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How do you become a chief financial officer?
Responsible for the sound financial management of a company, a chief financial officer (CFO) holds a strategic position within the company. What is the profile expected in terms of qualifications and experience? What technical skills and professional abilities are required for this job? What are the key tasks of a CFO within the company? Here is a quick overview of the role of CFO.
A major figure in the company
Essential within the company (SMEs or large companies), the CFO is in constant contact with the various partners of a company and coordinates relations between them. He or she oversees several sectors within the company:
- Financial: a leading player in the field of cash management, the creation of budget forecasts or balance sheets, and the implementation of management tools, it oversees financial management and accounting services.
- Human resources/management: depending on the size of the organisation, he or she can replace or assist the human resources director and help identify the personnel needed within the company and its development.
- Legal: responsible for the application of the regulations in force, the CFO keeps abreast of changes in the law, oversees the company's tax or accounting declarations, and manages client disputes.
Training, experience and salary
While a Bachelor's degree is essential, the most sought-after training paths remain a degree from a major business school, the Diploma of Accounting and Finance and the professional Master of Control, Accounting and Audit. As regards the career path of a CFO, at least five years of experience in an accounting and management role would appear to be essential when it comes to consolidating his or her accountancy, managerial control and auditing skills. Depending on his or her duties, the company turnover, the number of people managed and the number of years of experience, a CFO can expect a salary of between 140,000 to 330,000 CHF gross per year. Find out more about the pay scale of CFOs and other finance and accounting-related roles in our latest salary survey.
Strengths and skills
In addition to the necessary expertise in finance, accounting and taxes, and an ability to use IT management software, the CFO must have strong leadership and decision-making skills. His or her ability to think ahead and solid negotiating skills are also important assets. With excellent interpersonal skills and a good command of business English, he or she is able to communicate effectively with the company's stakeholders and put together a team around a common goal such as the development of a business plan.